The UCLA men’s basketball program is desperate to get back on track under new head coach Mick Cronin, but that will be awfully difficult to do if the team is banned from the NCAA Tournament in future seasons.
According to Jon Wilner of the Bay Area News Group, the latest Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores that were released by the NCAA last week show that UCLA is dangerously close to being below the 930-point threshold, which would trigger a postseason ban. UCLA’s latest score was the worst in the Pac-12 at 933. If the multi-year score that is released next spring dips below 930, the Bruins would be ruled ineligible for the NCAA Tournament in 2021.
“Unless the postseason ban is waived or avoided through the use of a filter, teams that don’t achieve the 930 will not participate in the postseason from the first time their multi-year APR falls below that benchmark,” NCAA spokesperson Michelle Brutlag Hosick told Wilner in an email.
The score the NCAA uses to determine postseason eligibility is a four-year average, and UCLA had scores of 942, 907, 977 and 905 in its last four seasons under former coach Steve Alford. That means the 942 will be removed from the calculation in the spring, so the Bruins need a score above 928 to avoid dipping below 930 for their average.
APR is calculated by measuring whether athletes remain in school and in good academic standing. Undergraduate transfers and players leaving early for the NFL or NBA draft lower the score.
UCLA already botched its coaching search and seemingly settled for Cronin, but he’s an experienced coach who enjoyed success at Cincinnati. If the Bruins can’t get their APR score up, it won’t matter how good of a coach Cronin is.